By Kelsey Keener
CEDAR CITY–During last week’s City Council meeting councilmembers voted on an ordinance amendment that would restrict the allowance of short-term rentals in areas zoned R-1.
The amendment to Chapter 23(9)(Q) was proposed by Eric and Tammy Vogt during the Aug. 15 council meeting, which also stated the guidelines for exceptions. During that work meeting, many residents voiced their opinions and concerns about short-term rentals in neighborhoods.
Before voting, council members stated their positions on the issue.
Councilman Craig Isom said he was concerned about how the issue is being handled by some community members.
“We have lost a sense of community, neighborliness, civility and caring,” he said. “Instead of reaching out and attempting to communicate and understand, we badmouthed and berated and created fear. It is unfortunate that in having disagreed, we’ve become so disagreeable.”
Councilman Ron Adams put another option on the table by briefly reviewing the Covenants, Codes and Restrictions for the Mesa Hills Subdivision, which clearly restrict short-term rentals from conducting business in the neighborhood in Section 3. After significant research, Councilman Adams found the Royal Hunt Ridge Subdivision CC&Rs, which do not contain language preventing short-term rentals.
Councilman Scott Phillips clarified that he was the council member who approached the city to see what was being done to regulate short-term rentals.
“My intent was to make sure that everyone was on a level playing field,” he said. “I have no problem with people making income from having short-term rentals. What I do have a problem with is when they are not paying the appropriate sales tax, transient room tax and not having a business license.”
He added that finding a solution to this issue is going to require common sense approaches to the issue rather than emotionally-based requests.
“What I hope we can do as a community is come together and sit down and talk about this in a sensible manner,” Phillips said.
Councilwoman Terri Hartley agreed with what the other council members stated, and said that this meeting would mark the beginning to finding a solution rather than an end to the problem. Councilman Paul Cozzens brought up enforcement as well. He said the council could pass laws and regulations, but the city would still find difficulty in enforcing them without the ability to hire more law enforcement officers to do so.
The amendment was denied, but council members invited residents and concerned citizens to come together as a committee to find a solution for their concerns.